Monday, June 23, 2008

Discover the Northern Cape, South Africa

Discover the Northern Cape for real adventure

Adventure can be different things to different people. The dictionary states that it is the encountering of risks, hazards and enterprise a bold undertaking in Which hazards are to be encountere; a daring feat; a remarkable occurrence; a striking event; a stirring incident; as in the adventures of one’s life.

The Northern Cape’s vastness san everlasting challenge to eco-adventurers who are keen to explore. Climatic and topographic extremes dominate a vast land of stark arid varying contrasts. From its endless, flower-carpeted flatlands and scrub-covered plains to the jagged edges and convoluted folds of molten mountains, it is a land of haunting natural beauty. After scaling dizzying heights in searing temperatures with sweat-burned eyes, you feel mystery and wonder imbuing your every sense while gazing down on the broad, cooling waters snaking their (way through the seemingly impregnable mountain moonscape.

Visitors are rewarded with experiences that press on their minds. The open, often unpopulated spaces of the Northern Cape call them back again and again to hike its rugged trails, shoot its turbulent rapids, fish its living rivers ail its sapphire skies explore its many back-roads, view its splendid game, revel in its unusual flora and explore the brooding chambers of its worked-out mines.

This information is in no way complete but it should give you the taste to explore for more!

4x4 Trails and Challenges

Take rugged mountains, endless flatlands and undulating dunes. Add to this diverse scenery, stunning plant life and plentiful game and you have a recipe that will please all 4x4 eco-adventurers. Here are a few of the trails you can undertake:

  • Egerton Trail Travel vast open plains and absorb the unique rugged beauty of the Northern Cape by exploring 50km of sand, rocky hills and dongas. Tel 053 831 2659 / 082 493 4756. Nossob.

  • 4x4 Route (Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park), a circular 200km long trail in the Park offering exhilarating dune driving and scenic views, Tel: 012428 9111.
  • Witsand Two routes over dunes and mountains. Tel: 053 3131061/2.
  • Namaqua Trail. Probably the longest 4x4 trail in Africa. Tel: 027 718 29861.
  • Richtersveld Route. (Ai-Ai & Richtersveld Transfrontier Park). Breathtakingly beautiful with a new scene meeting the eye at every turn. Tel: 012428911.
  • Riemvasmaak Trails. Three routes covering approximately 160km of deep sand to steep and very rough tracks, deep dongas and rocky plateaus Tel:084 431 0945.
  • Augrabies Park Takes trailists through surrealistic moonscapes. Tel 054 452 9200.
  • Khamkirri Has trails of varying difficulty. Tel 054 451 0325 / 082 926 0055.
  • Banksgate Trail. Offers 6 trails varying in distance between 10km and 66km. Tel 02062 ask for 1930.


    North of Kimberley, (24km off the N12) part of the yea/harts Valley

    On the banks of the Vaal River, the town started out as Hebron, a mission station. Diamonds were discovered in the river and prospectors flooded the village. The missionaries were sent packing and the town of Windsorton took root in the diggers’ camp, named after PF Windsor, owner of the land on which it developed. Diamonds are still found in the area.

    TOURIST INFORMATION NOCCI Tel/Fax 053 474 0432

    61km north of Kimberley on the /V12

    In 1880 a syndicate bought the western portion of the farm Grasbult on the Vaal River to irrigate the fertile land and produce vegetables for those working the diamond fields. Named after Sir Charles Warren, diamonds were discovered here in 1868 and mining still continues.

    TOURIST INFORMATION NOCCI Tel/Fax 053 474 0432

    Semiprecious Stone Factory Open to the public.
    Jan Kempdorp
    North of Kimberley 21km from Warrenton (turn off the N12 onto the R49), part of the Vaalharts Valley. An idyllic town serving the southern section of the Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme.

    TOURIST INFORMATION NOCCI Tel/Fax 053 474 0432 Email

    Burial Sites The grave sites of German and other soldiers from the Second World War can be found at Jan Kempdorp. Poplar Lane The 38 kilometre poplar lane along the road to Hartswater, was planted in 1937 and has often been considered the longest lane of its kind in the world.

    North of Kimberley 16km from Jan Kempdorp on the R49

    Laid out in 1934 as a town servihg the northern section of the Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme, Hartswater’s growth has been nurtured by its irrigation canals and is surrounded by trees and tracts of fertile ground.

    NOCCI Tel/Fax 053 474 0432
    Email noccihw©

    Burial Sites The burial site of Tswana Chief Galeshewe is near Hartswater.
    Taung Skull On the border of the Northern Cape and the North West Province.
    Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme Covering 36 9SOha, the Scheme, which is one of the largest irrigation schemes in the world, is managed by Vaalharts Water, watering 1 250 farms of some 25ha each in the lush Valley.
    Wine Cooperative Enjoy wine tastingand buy local wines, bottled under the Hinterland and Elements labels.

    This beautiful yet little known valley is only one hour’s drive north of Kimberley. The surrounds are like a breath of fresh air with the lush green farmlands. Highlighted from the usual yellows and browns of the nearby countryside. Two mighty rivers, the Vaal and the Harts, feed an intricate irrigation scheme that supports more than 1 250 high production agricultural farms. The development of an Agri-Tourism Route is currently taking place, which will allow the tourist to experience all the activities surrounding the harvesting and production of popular local farming products, such as olives, pecan nuts, peanuts, citrus, wine cotton and stone-fruit. Wheat, mealies and Lucerne are also grown. Although agriculture is the mainstay of the valley there is plenty more to do and see. You can cool off in our canals (or even ride down them); explore the region on a 4x4 trip; enjoy a breathtaking view of the valley in a microlight; take a peaceful morning horseriding; watching the waterbirds on a shallow lake during late afternoon or reminisce about the one that got away on the banks of the Harts River. Hartswater and an Kempdorp are the two main centres in the irrigation area and have golf clubs, bowling greens, restaurants and accommodation to suit most tastes.

    The Karoo

    With the first rains, the seemingly arid soil of the Karoo bursts into abundant life,

    its hardy succulents complementing the sweet grasses on which the region’s merino and fat-tailed sheep graze. The ever present windmills testify to the countless streams flowing between fissures underlying the dry but fertile soil. Small, isolated but welcoming villages, a distinct Karoo architecture and imposing churches rest in valleys between desolate, flat-topped koppies. Take a short trip from Colesberg, an essential stopover for all travelers and a sheep-farming centre, to Hopetown, the scene of South Africa’s first recorded diamond find. Return, via Orania, a self-proclaimed Afrikaner volkstaat, before making your way to Vanderkloof and the Rolfontein Nature Reserve on the shores of the great Vanderkloof Dam. Indulge in water sports or relax on its secluded banks which stretch 100km to the Doornkloof Nature Reserve on the man-made lake’s southern shores. Throughout this wonderful part of the great Karoo, you can visit, hunt or hike on game farms and nature reserves teeming with every species of antelope. And, like the country they live in, the hardy inhabitants of the Karoo make you feel immediately at home in their beloved countryside.

    For more information

    Emthanjeni Municipality
    45 Voortrekker Street, De Aar
    P0 Box 42, De Aar 7000
    Tel:’ +27 53 632 9100 or +2753 631 4176
    Fax: +27 53 631 0105

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